Sen. Tuberville’s Effort Is Latest Related To Sports Participation

Topline

In the most recent attempt from Republicans to politicize trans issues,  Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) introduced an amendment to President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief legislation on Saturday that would prohibit educational institutions from receiving funding if they allow “biological males” to compete in women’s athletics, but failed in a party-line vote.

Key Facts

Tuberville asserted his amendment aims to “safeguard fairness and equality for women” by ensuring education funding is “properly directed” to schools focused on Covid-19 recovery “rather than pushing a liberal agenda.” 

Tuberville Amendment #1386 was co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Roger Marshall of Kansas.

The Democratic majority in the Senate defeated the amendment, 49-50, with Joe Manchin (W.Va.) the only Democrat to vote for it and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) as the only Republican to vote against it (Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan left Washington, D.C., on Friday to return home to Alaska for a family funeral). 

Chief Critic:

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) opposed the amendment Saturday, stating it would undermine one of the goals of the Covid-19 relief bill, which is to assist all students and families that have struggled through the pandemic. “Allowing transgender students to participate in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity in no way disadvantages their fellow students,” Murray argued. She characterized Tuberville’s amendment as “simply an attempt to discriminate against” transgender students.

Key Background:

In an executive order issued on his first day in office, President Joe Biden called for strict enforcement of a 2020 supreme court decision that expanded the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the order states, adding that his administration pledges to “combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.” Republicans have argued this amounts to a “giant leap backward for women’s rights” because the president made it possible for “genetic boys to compete against girls.” While running for election last year, Tuberville told reporters, “I am against this transgender, guys turning into women, and winning all these state championships all over the country,” adding “how we can even think about letting a thing like that happen. It just makes no sense.” Last month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) hung an anti-trans sign outside her office and taunted Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) over her transgender daughter. Greene tweeted, “Your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathroom,” and posted a video of her hanging a large poster that read: “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust The Science!” On Saturday, Sen. Marshall tweeted he was “proud to join” Tuberville to “protect female athletes” by ensuring public schools “aren’t rewarded for implementing policies that allow genetic boys to compete in girls’ sports.”

Tangent:

In early February, tennis legend Martina Navratilova called on Pres. Biden to “carve-out” a separate policy provision for “elite sports or sports at the higher level of high school, college and pros” to ensure “a level playing field.” 

Crucial Quote: 

“Can’t we just have a little bit of heart and compassion in this world for someone who doesn’t look or live exactly like you,” said Sen. Murray.

Further Reading:

Tuberville says country going in wrong direction (Daily Mountain Eagle) 

Drag queens blast Tommy Tuberville for Facebook post (AL.com)